Posted by: bluesyemre | December 20, 2017

The father of modern #Libraries was a serial sexual harasser


Known as the Father of Librarianship, Melvil Dewey was the inventor of the widely used Dewey Decimal classification system. (Credit: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

Adelaide Hasse was used to professional challenges. As a young woman, she struggled to be taken seriously by mostly male executive boards. She created a groundbreaking new way to classify government documents—and was disappointed when a male colleague claimed the credit. But armed with a new job at the New York Public Library, a better salary, and an ambitious new project, she finally felt optimistic about her career.

To pull off her newest plan, she’d need support, so she approached the leading voice in her field, Melvil Dewey, a man whose innovations made him a household name. He suggested they meet privately about her new project. Encouraged, she made her way to Albany, New York—only to find that he had arranged what amounted to a weekend-long date. It’s unclear what happened next, but Hasse departed hastily after being taken for a long drive by Dewey, and later spoke to colleagues about how offensive his behavior had been.

The story sounds like it could involve a Harvey Weinstein or Matt Lauer, but it didn’t. It took place in 1905, more than a century before the #metoo movement that exposed the sexual misconduct of America’s most powerful men. And the man in question was Melvil Dewey, the library pioneer whose decimal system of classification is still used in libraries today—a “protean genius” who raised himself from a poor farmer’s son to an icon during his lifetime.

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